Lightweight lever

Organic sheet combined with long-fibres

A lever is used as an example to show how the new Fibre Direct Compounding (FDC) process can be combined with the overmoulding of two continuous-fibre reinforced thermoplastic inserts of different thicknesses (thermoplastic composite sheets). The result is a high-strength composite component which can be used as a substitute for metal.

Using a two-sided heating process, the organic sheets are held in a robotic gripper and gently heated via an infrared radiator. The six-axis robotic system then inserts the sheets into the LIPA (Lightweight Integrated Process Application) mould at a precise forming temperature. A separate heating station is dispensed with. An ALLROUNDER 820 S overmoulds the organic sheets with long-fibre reinforced PP. The end product has a length of 500 mm and weighs only around 200 g – 62 % less than a comparable die-cast part.

Highlights

  • Lightweight construction: Combination of long fibres and organic sheets produces high-strength, lightweight composite component
  • Fibre Direct Compounding (FDC): individual settings for fibre length, fibre content and material combinations
  • Servo-hydraulics: ALLROUNDER S with energy-saving system, speed-controlled pump drive
  • Inline quality assurance: temperature monitoring, flexural testing and graphic display of quality parameters

Basic specifications

Lightweight lever
Cavities: 1
Part weight: 202 g
Material: PP + GF
Cycle time: 40 s

Here’s how it works

Overmoulding organic sheets
The organic sheets of different thicknesses are formed to a W-shaped profile in the mould, while the edging, end eyes and ribbed structures are simultaneously overmoulded in long-fibre reinforced PP. This prevents open fibres and damage to the fibre structure.

Process

Long-fibre direct injection moulding
Fibres with a length of up to 50 mm can be added directly to the liquid melt via a side feeder on the injection unit. This minimises fibre damage during material preparation. The base materials, plastic and fibreglass rovings, are also significantly less expensive than ready-made long-fibre granulates.
to the process

Technology

Machine
An ALLROUNDER 820 S overmoulds the organic sheets with long-fibre reinforced PP in order to provide the finished component with additional functional and reinforcement elements. The servo-hydraulic drive permits particularly energy-efficient and low-emission operation. The cycle time is approx. 40 s.
to the hydraulic machines

Robotic system
A six-axis robotic system carefully holds the two organic sheets via suction devices, heats them up and inserts them into the mould at a precise forming temperature. It then also removes the finished part and transfers it to a quality inspection station before setting it down on a conveyor belt.
to the six-axis robots

Industry

Automotive
In the case of large unit volumes, the integration of automated upstream and downstream operations pays. The example of the lightweight lever demonstrates how a high-strength composite component capable of substituting metal can be produced by combining organic sheets and long fibres.
to the industry

Partners

MouldGeorg Kaufmann
Automationfpt Robotik
MaterialLanxess